Israeli army admits mistakenly killing Hamas fighter

Source: Xinhua| 2019-07-11 21:39:08|Editor: Wu Qin
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JERUSALEM, July 11 (Xinhua) -- Israel's military said on Thursday that a shooting which killed earlier in the morning a Hamas official near the Gaza-Israel border was a result of a "misunderstanding."

In the incident, the Israeli army shot and killed a member of a Hamas unit in charge of enforcing restrain in rallies near fence between Israel and the Palestinian enclave.

He was shot and killed while attempting to prevent two youths from breaching the fence, Israeli media reported.

The Palestinian Health Ministry identified him as Mahmoud al-Adham, a 28-year-old member of the Hamas' armed wing al-Qassam Brigades.

Hours after the shooting, the Israeli military issued a special statement, acknowledging the mistake.

"In retrospect, it appears that the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) troops who arrived at the location misidentified the Hamas restraint operative to be an armed terrorist and fired as a result of this misunderstanding," the statement read.

"The incident will be reviewed," it added.

The rare acknowledgment came after Hamas, a Palestinian movement that runs the Gaza Strip, threatened to avenge al-Adham's death. "We affirm that this crime of killing our militant won't pass and the Israeli occupation is fully responsible for committing the crimes against our men," the group said in a press statement on its official website.

Hamas also said that "the Israeli occupation opened intentional fire on one of our militant members on duty."

The Hamas armed wing, warned Israel after the killing of the militant, adding that "we are conducting check and evaluation for this crime."

The rallies near the fence, known as the "Great March of Return," began in March 2018 to protest the 12-year-long crippling blockade imposed by Israel. The army uses live fire to disperse the protesters.

At least 205 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire since the protest started, according to United Nations figures.

Israel captured the Gaza Strip and the West Bank in the 1967 Middle East war.